Until 1945

Since 1891, the then Prussian authorities considered the possibility of establishing a higher education institution in Gdansk. The idea received support of the City Council, which bought the land along St. Michel’s road (today Traugutta Street) in advance. Deliberations, discussions and expert opinions took over a year. On March 16, 1899, Prussian deputies approved the decision and allocated 6 million marks for the project. In March 1900, the main designer, Albert Carsten, arrived in Gdańsk.

Construction under his supervision began in August of the same year. Within 4 years, buildings with a total cubic capacity of over 200,000 m³ were erected on 6.4 ha of land. The ceremonial inauguration took place on October 6, 1904. The Main Building with a capacity of 122 thousand m³ was and still is the largest of the erected buildings. It has about 210 rooms without basements and the attic space. The expansion of the university was begun even before the First World War. In 1909 a modest building of the Material Strength Laboratory was established and in 1912 the Hydromechanics Institute was erected and the Machine Hall expanded.

According to the first statute of October 1, 1904, the university was called the Royal University of Technology in Gdansk (Königliche Technische Hochschule zu Danzig) and was directly subordinate to the so-called ‘Upper President’ of West Prussia. In total, there were 6 faculties: I Architecture, II Civil Engineering, III Machine Construction and Electrical Engineering, IV Construction of Ships and Ship Machinery, V Chemistry and VI General Sciences. The university had full academic rights.

Young people of many nationalities studied at the Gdańsk University of Technology, including: Chinese, Czech, Estonian, Finnish, French, Dutch, Japanese, Lithuanian, Hungarian, and Jewish. However, the largest group next to the Germans were Poles.

After the end of World War I, on July 28, 1921, the university was handed over to the authorities of the Free City of Gdańsk, which was established under the Treaty of Versailles.

As early as in 1913 the Polish Gdańsk Academic Students’ Union was created, which due to the situation had to be kept in secret. After World War I, with the consent of the University, open organisations were established. Those were: the Polish Students’ Union ‘Bratnia Pomoc’ (in 1921), the Circle of Students of Ship Engineering of Gdańsk Technical University "Korab" (1924), the Circle of Polish Chemistry Students of Gdańsk Technical University (1925), the Circle of Polish Students of Architecture of Gdańsk Technical University (1925), the Circle of Polish Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Students (in 1926) and many others. Apart from the above, Polish corporations were created (German students had got 29 corporations). Moreover, there were different political and social organisation and 3 sports societies. Polish students had their own drafting rooms and a student dormitory at the present Legionów Street. Up to 1933 the relations between the Poles and the Germans were rather fine, though not without some amount of friction.

The overtaking of power in the Free City of Gdańsk by the Nazis in 1933 resulted in many changes though at the beginning they were not as violent as in Germany. People of Jewish origin or those who were openly expressing their anti-Nazi attitude were gradually dismissed from the University. Elderly professors were forced to retire and the younger ones were dismissed or suspended. Prof. Carsten, one of the eminent designers of the University buildings, was one of the first professors compelled to retire.

That meant a serious decrease of number of the staff members. Nearly all the students' organisations were dissolved - and instead an obligatory National - Socialistic German Students’ Society was created. All the corporations were dissolved as well. Those changes did not concern the Poles who preserved their organisations. 

From 1935 the relations started to deteriorate. Incidents among the students became more and more frequent. The culmination reached its extreme in February 1939. It was provoked by an anti-Polish note in one of the cafes in Wrzeszcz. On February 24, 1939, Nazi-fighting squads forced Polish students out of the University. From 18 March, Polish students could return to the University, but it became practically impossible to continue studies.

At the moment of the outbreak of World War II there were no Polish students in Gdańsk, which was annexed into Deutsches Reich. The majority of students and many members of the staff were enlisted. In 1941 the Technical University was definitely subjected to Berlin Authorities. 

The number of students decreased dramatically, and similarly the staff. In January 1945, courses were definitely suspended. On 21 January the previous year prohibition of leaving the City was cancelled. Part of the families of the University staff left for Germany by trains. Preparation for the evacuation began. The most valuable equipment, books and rectorate files were packed into 500 cases and loaded on board of the ship "Deutschland". Some weeks after the shipment had been dispatched, the University was converted into a hospital for 3000 beds.

In the early morning of 26 March, the last German Rector, Prof. E. Martyrer left the University. In the afternoon of the same day, after a violent artillery attack, the Russians took over the University. A fire arose in the western part of the Main Building, which destroyed 60% of it, and a part of the Chemistry Building. The Library was burned out with the part of the volumes which had not been removed, as well as all the representative rooms in the centre of the Main Building. 

At the beginning of April 1945, a delegation of five of the Ministry of Education came to Gdańsk.

Read more about history until 1945


After the 1945

By a decree of 24 May 1945, the polytechnic was transformed into a Polish state academic school. The first lecture was given by prof. Ignacy Adamczewski. Prof. Stanisław Łukasiewicz became the rector. Six faculties were established: Faculty of Architecture, Faculty of Shipbuilding, Faculty of Chemistry, Faculty of Mechanics, Electrical Faculty, Faculty of Civil and Water Engineering. 

The official inauguration took place on 9 April 1946 at Auditorium Maximum. The audience gathered for the first time within the walls of Gdańsk University of Technology listened to the song Gaude Mater Poloniae, and the inaugural lecture was given by prof. M.T. Huber.

1647 students started the 1945/1946 academic year. The first teaching staff numbered 112 people. The first staff came mainly from Lviv and Warsaw Polytechnics.

In the reconstruction of buildings helped the candidates for studies and academics. The Brotherly Help of Students of Gdańsk University of Technology appealed to the academic community with a request to work for 80 hours removing rubble and rebuilding both the university of technology and the entire city. 

The expansion of the university became necessary as the number of students increased. As a result, the volume of university buildings increased by 65 percent in relation to the post-war period. In the sixties and seventies the expansion resulted in a further increase in volume by 185%. compared to the post-war period.

The university had a huge impact on the reconstruction and development of Gdańsk and the whole region. The Shipbuilding Faculty was active in the field of shipbuilding, sailing and fishing, and the other departments - construction and architecture, mechanics, chemistry and energy.

In the history of Gdańsk University of Technology there were difficult periods associated with the active involvement of employees and students in the socio-political affairs of the country, as well as in opposition activities in 1945-1989. The consequence was harassment, suspension from classes, relegation from university, arrests and imprisonment. Withholding scientific promotions and foreign trips of employees was quite painful.

In the 1950s and 1960s Gdańsk became the ‘capital of student culture’ in Poland. The ‘Bim-Bom’ theater, with Jacek Fedorowicz, Bogumił Kobiela and Zbigniew Cybulski, and Kabaret ‘π’ were active here. ‘Żak’, the ‘Kwadratowa’ club and clubs located in student houses became the center of student life. Students had their ‘Student Chronicle’ Film Discussion Club DKF, SAR Student Radio Agency and Gdańsk University of Technology Choir. In the 1950s, the self-government activity of the Student Parliament of Gdańsk University of Technology was pioneering.

Today, 104 scientific clubs and 27 sports sections operate at 8 university faculties. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the number of students of the Gdańsk University of Technology systematically increases Currently, the Gdańsk University of Technology, whose academic community consists of over 14,000 students from over 70 countries, is an academic center recognized in Poland and abroad, cooperating with many universities and industrial centers.

Read more about history in 1945-1989

Read more about history after 1989